1 Corinthians 2:12 – 16 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ.
Peter 2:2 like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.
WHO’S IN CHARGE HERE?
It’s a standard question when you’re getting nowhere with people who are supposed to help you, but have you ever asked who’s in charge of YOU?
Please don’t go all spiritual and say “God”, because it’s the wrong answer! The truth is that YOU are in charge you but let’s go a bit deeper into the word “YOU” – what do we mean by YOU?
The Bible tells us we are a three part creation, created in the image of the triune God. We are
- Body, which is world conscious.
- Soul, which is self–conscious and
- Spirit, which is God conscious.
The bible tells us that our spirit, that part of us that communes with our creator, is dead because of sin. Sin is the principle and human condition that has separated us from the life of God, it is not simply ‘lawlessness’. Sin is also shown in the hearts of mankind by a spirit of independence, often seen with religious people who think they can be good enough by effort and works. Sin can also live in a life that is ignorant of the truth or that wilfully refuses to become humble and accept that maybe God the creator knows more than we do. Such self-important opinions in people’s lives are what keep the spiritual man dead. Because we are spiritually dead we cannot spiritually help ourselves no more than a dead person could make themselves alive by effort. By definition a spiritually dead person needs spiritual outside help. Now, many look to religion to bring help, but all this can do is to “decorate” the corpse like a mortician – clean the face, a touch of foundation and rouge, some lipstick and we “look” more presentable but we are still spiritually dead despite religion’s best efforts.
Ephesians 2:4-5 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).
The bible states the ONLY solution to being spiritually dead …
“you MUST be born again” (John 3:3)
“unless a man is born again he will NOT see the Kingdom of God” (John 3:4)
People are ‘Born Again’ when God in His grace shines the light of the truth of His words into their lives, and because “the entrance of God’s word gives light” (Psalm 119:130) we see for the first time the need to be spiritually made alive again. We can then choose to agree with God and be saved or reject being saved and return to darkness. If we choose to submit to the fact that God ‘probably’ knows more than us about life and death, then we can submit to His words and follow through on the Bible’s instructions to repent from dead works and rebellion and trust the work of Christ who carried ALL our sins to the cross and removed the barrier that sin was between man and God.
When Christ is invited in, His LIFE comes in and we are raised to SPIRITUAL LIFE, made alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:5). We become spiritually aware just like a child being born, we become aware of light and the newness of spiritual life! At this point we are “spiritually” weak and dependant on the grace that made us alive to help us and causes us to grow, and like any child we should grow unless there is some problem keeping us small, yet that is the experience of many born again believers – they are spiritually alive but ‘small’ and ‘weak’ but why?
BODY AND SOUL
The problem is the fact that there are two other facets to our triune nature (as mentioned earlier) the body (or flesh), which is world conscious and the soul, which is self conscious, and they have been running the show and growing bigger for years.
When a new child arrives in a family, it seeks to interpret the world by the opinions of those more mature and experienced. If you had two older brothers or sisters you would defer to their experience in situations you are unfamiliar with and assume they know what they are talking about and giving you sound advice. However when we are born again we have two “ugly sisters” to look up to as an example of how the world works, but the problem is that they are hostile towards the spirit man. These two are NOT HAPPY that this “new kid on the block” has sprouted up and is seeing to run our lives from a spiritual and Biblical perspective. The challenge for us all as new-born ‘spiritual’ people is how to grow in this hostile environment.
Galatians 5:17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.
When I was born again I found that the flesh and the carnal mind were always in contention with what my new-born spirit was saying to me. I looked at God’s word and I read scripture that told me that I was “seated with Christ in heavenly places” (Ephesians 2:6), yet when I looked to my flesh it would tell me that I was sitting in a mess and my soul (personal/emotional life) was in deep turmoil! The danger was that I was deferring to my 30 year old flesh and my 30 year old soul who had much more experience than me and submitting myself to “their” “experience” which meant that my walk with God was an unhappy experience. The bible explains it this way.
Romans 8:6 – For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace
And so my mind was focused on what the flesh was telling me and what the soul (feelings) was backing up as bedrock truth.
Romans 6:16 – Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.
And so I found death at work in my life… and futility and a frustrating walk with God leading to a stunted and staggered spiritual growth… I only grew in spurts with a small victory here and there followed by being dragged back down. What then is the solution? It’s simple – We must free ourselves from the false information and lies we being fed to us daily by a world that offers nothing but negativity. There’s an account told about a great teacher and preacher, Lester Sumrall, who went to visit his friend and mighty man of God called Smith Wigglesworth who let Sumrall into his house but not the newspaper he was carrying under his arm! While that seems extreme, we should think about how much of what we do is building the flesh and the soul rather than feeding and building the Spiritual man! We must seek to free ourselves from every false fact that we have gathered over the years that we have ‘believed’ to be spiritual truth, this includes the religious conditioning we have accepted such as “if you’re good, God will answer your prayers” and religious nonsense such as “If you try to be as good as humanly possible that you will go to heaven when you die”.
The apostle Paul had to come to this point just as we do.
Galatians 1:14: and I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my countrymen, being more extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions
Phil 3: 5-8 (I was) a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless. But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ”
Just like Paul, we must reject any things that offer false opinions that inhibit our spiritual growth so we can become the full spiritual man, able to serve effectively the business to which we are called. We must become moved by the instructions of the spirit who “guides us in all truth” (John 16:13) It is only by getting this truth about our “Born again spirit identity” deep in our hearts, that we can make sense of scripture and the world, about past, present, future and about life and death.
So, what is our spirit man? It’s the TRUE ME made perfect in Christ. It’s me WITHOUT any effects of sin. It’s the part of us CREATED RIGHTEOUS. In fact in my opinion, it’s the part of me that God will use as the blueprint for my resurrection body after my present sin damaged body will perish – my Spirit is my DNA data “stored in the cloud! (in IT terms) or “seated with Christ in heavenly places” (in scriptural terms!) It’s the part of me that is in perfect communion with God. It’s the part of me that is “more than a conqueror in Christ” It’s the parts of me that CANNOT SIN.
1 John 3:9 Everyone who has been born of God does not sin, because His seed remains in him; he is not able to sin, because he has been born of God”
It’s NOT my ugly older sister, the flesh, that “cannot sin” nor my other ugly sister “the soul”(emotions), that “cannot sin”. It is my perfect born again spirit who cannot sin for “as He (Christ)is – so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17)
We must start to accept our new identity, and though we have a “family relationship” with the flesh and a “family relationship” with the soul – we do not need to be ruled by them any more. We are not subject to them, we are not bound to accept their recommendations.
How then does a child grow? How then do we “interpret” the world around us if we don’t listen any more to the flesh and the soul?… From our Fathers words.
A Good parent sows positive words, encouragement, potential, hope, love and acceptance into the life of their children so that when the world around them tells them they are not very good, they can submit themselves to the words of one who would NEVER lie and trust Father rather than our own limited experience so that we end up not moved by false information, by false facts, or false opinion but by the words of God our Father ONLY.
James 1:23 -25 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.
Many of us come to church and hear and go away and forget what we hear. We read the scripture and forget what we see because we filter every message through the “ugly sisters” and our experience so far.
We read Matthew 18:18 “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”And then we make the mistake of running it past our ugly sisters – our “soulish feelings” that say “how can this be true when I myself “feel” bound and how can i possible “loose” other things?”
We read Mark 11:23 “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. And then run it by the ugly sister of “fleshly experience!” who tells you “well you prayed for such and such and it didn’t happen”
We read 1 Peter 2:24 “…By whose stripes you were healed” and both ugly sisters of flesh and soul tells you “my body doesn’t FEEL healed”
James says the word of God is like a mirror.
Do you know that you have never, ever seen your own face! Think about it, you’ve only ever seen a reflection of your face, and given that the mirror gives an accurate picture of the world around, you trust that it’s giving you an accurate reflection of you. We have never seen our spirits and the only way you will know your true reflection of who you are in the spirit is through God’s word!
We must grasp that it is our spirit man that communes with God’s spirit and that we are everything that God says we are in our spirit and therefore now that in my Spirit man…
“I CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13 )
I am “MORE than a conqueror through Christ” (Romans 8:37)
Ephesians 4:14 tells us WHY the church is gifted with the fivefold ministry – “that we may be no longer children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of error;”
We must stop being moved by every wind of (false) doctrine and blown over like snowflakes when we “feel” offended or “misunderstood”, with the ugly sisters telling us “you poor thing, let me carry you back to where you’re more comfortable.
We must stop being a people that let personal feelings overrule scriptural facts who think church is here to prop up our poor offended feelings. We need to toughen up to the desperate need of a dying world on our doorstep. We need to humble ourselves and accept that my flesh is wrong, my feelings are wrong and most importantly that God is right. We need to see ourselves in light of who God says we are in our born again spirits and get to work and stop being drawn forever into the arguments with the ugly sisters of the FLESH and FEELINGS and start to BELIEVE what Father tells us.
We are not distracted by the FLESH and FEELINGS for …
2 Corinthians 10:3-4 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses
We need to start not talking to God about mountains but talking to mountains about God. We need to start rejecting demonic squatters and wickedness at work in our families. We start to heal the sick rather than benignly praying for healing
Why does it matter who’s in charge?
In the book of John, after feeding the 5000, many of those who followed Jesus and who were looking for a free meal “walked away”. They “no longer followed Him” when they complained about the “hard teaching” he was giving, but why? It’s because they filtered everything through the flesh and the soul but were not willing to humble themselves and accept that Jesus knew more than they did. They totally lost the blessings that could have been theirs because all they could see was what the “didn’t have”. The reason that all this matters is because the blessings of God are SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS and it takes the SPIRITUAL MAN to reach up, reach out, lay hold of these spiritual blessings and bring them from the ‘spiritual’ to the ‘tangible’ where the need is.
Ephesians 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ”
The Spiritual man knows that the blessing is SPIRITUAL and how to access it.
Romans 5:2 “Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory”
Ephesians 3:12 “Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.”
Believing, reaching out and receiving from our good God who is more willing to give than we are to receive, who has (past tense) blessed us with EVERY SPIRITUAL BLESSING IN CHRIST. A dying world needs to look at you and I and people in the church and rather than see weak and uncertain people they should be able to see the SPIRITUAL MAN ready to bring them to the God who loves them and wants to bless them with every spiritual blessing.